Why you should use images on websites and social media

A picture is worth a million likes

We’re all familiar with the expression: ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ – a phrase that appears to have been coined in the early 1900s in a US newspaper article quoting editor Arthur Brisbane, who said “The book jacket is a big selling point – one picture is worth a thousand words.”

This well used phrase hasn’t lost any of its significance. In fact, it is probably now truer than ever in this multi-media world where we are bombarded with competing messages vying for our attention.  It’s no wonder our attention spans have shortened and publishers now have to fight very hard to get noticed.

In the blink of an eye

A team of neuroscientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has found that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees in as little as 13 milliseconds.

Which explains why we can understand a picture quicker than a written message. But it isn’t simply about speed. Images are universally understood, free from the constraints of language and requiring little thought to achieve impact.

What do you think of the images accompanying this article? You probably scanned those images first, before reading the article. And yes, the images don’t actually have anything to do with the story. But they help illustrate the power of images, because when shown together tell an attention-grabbing story.

Point made?

The digital narrative

People are ‘consuming’ ever more media. You’ll probably have noticed yourself that while the TV is on, someone will be sitting there on a tablet surfing, or checking Facebook updates on their phone, while the radio might still be on in the kitchen. Many people these days hop from one media device to another and back again, with messages blurring, content competing against a background of distractions.

This is one reason why infographics have become so popular in recent years. They offer quick-grab information packed in simplified visual messages. Or the popularity of sites like Pinterest and Tumblr which are purely image-led. It’s also interesting to note that photo posts on Facebook get over 50% more likes compared to a text-only post, and Twitter’s research says that tweets with photos get 313% more engagement.

You could almost rephrase the old saying into: “A picture is worth a million likes.”

Oh, and what about that horse trapped in the mud? As you might have guessed from the last image, it all has a happy ending.

Alberon is at the forefront of digital thinking. Do get in touch for a no-obligation consultation meeting using the contact form, by email hello@alberon.co.uk or calling 01865 794009.

About Alberon

We have been designing and building bespoke software solutions and websites for organisations in Oxford for over 12 years, helping them to work more effectively and realise their full potential.

Our friendly, highly experienced team of web designers and software developers are dedicated to helping our clients achieve the outcomes they want. From web design and development, to complex software solutions, we apply our creative and technical know-how to deliver the perfect solution.


4 comments

  1. 19th March 2015 simon norris said:

    very interesting: but I wonder how one converts a photo of a building- static- into an attention grabbing script

  2. 11th May 2015 Christian said:

    Hello Simon

    Good question – it can be tricky creating attention grabbing images that are suitable, yet effective in promoting your products. Having considered this, I thought it would be useful to provide more detail and so I have written a further article – How to Bring Images to Life for Websites and Social Media – which I hope answers your question.

  3. 1st September 2015 Nicholas Newman said:

    You answer the first part of the question, but not the second!

  4. 2nd September 2015 Christian Guthier said:

    Hello Nicholas

    Thanks for the comment!

    There isn’t really a first and second part. We used the same image of the horse trapped in the mud that promoted this story on Linkedin, our newsletter as well on Twitter. It’s the same story so the same rules apply to whatever media format you use.

    What you can/could do in the case of social media is, of course, add text onto the image, so it is free-standing. That can work well too, though I’ve found that it works better with a simple, equally free-standing message, thereby making it then a shareable graphic. Maybe worthy of another article? ;-)


leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

An introduction to agile software development New website for The Cyber Security Centre